Breathtaking Norway

Tripoto
11th Jul 2015
Photo of Breathtaking Norway by Shallu Aggarwal
Photo of Breathtaking Norway by Shallu Aggarwal
Photo of Breathtaking Norway by Shallu Aggarwal
Photo of Breathtaking Norway by Shallu Aggarwal
Photo of Breathtaking Norway by Shallu Aggarwal
Photo of Breathtaking Norway by Shallu Aggarwal
Photo of Breathtaking Norway by Shallu Aggarwal
Photo of Breathtaking Norway by Shallu Aggarwal

Norway, the land of mid-night sun, is a paradise for nature lover. Decked with mountains, lakes, rivers,waterfalls, fjords, sea and snow; it is, indeed, Heaven on Earth. The beauty is such that no matter where you look, it is a treat to eyes. The seven days that we spend seemed to less and too short, to fully appreciate the small region we concentrated on.

This was a family get-together road trip from Copenhagen, Denmark (my brother lives there) to Norway. My sister came down from Dubai and we went from India. We rented a car from Copenhagen, from a company my brother's friend works in. It was a 15 hrs journey which include 2.5 hours on a ferry from Stromstad, Sweden to Sandefjord, Norway. We decided to rent a house in Norway because (1) We were a big group ourselves; (2) we were travelling with children; (3) Hotels in Norway are very expensive (4) My parents are strict vegetarians and house comes with a kitchen, hotel rooms don't.We found a stunning property at Novasol.com, booked it online, discussed a few things with our host over the phone and we were good to go. Our host/ house owner visited us once we reached there and acquainted us with all the features of the house, Do's and Don't's, local culture, places to visit and other practicalities as we talked over a coffee and the tips that he shared were very helpful. Our experience, Unforgettable.

The details of the trip and the places we visited are in the itinerary. Following are few tips if you are planning to visit Norway:

1. Norway is damn expensive, even Swedes and Danes find Norway expensive. So, careful planning is very important else your pocket would curse you. Don't plan to shop a lot and carry along the all things that you might need.

2. Find a place which allows you to cook, because eating out at restaurants is expensive.

3. Carry warm clothes even if you are going in summer. For, winter one would need special clothing.

4. The best way to discover Norway is by your own car because (a)you never know where you would come across a magnificent waterfall or an mystical rainbow; (b) taxis are very expensive and (c) being a mountainous & thinly populated country, public transport in not very well developed especially away from the big cities.

Another, interesting way to explore this country is through Caravan. Caravan camping sites are easily available even in small villages and are relative cheap. Caravan are easily available on rent in entire Europe. So, drive your home along.

5. As they say, the view is always better from the top, so to fully appreciate & experience this rugged mountainous country make sure you are in good physical shape and have the strength required to climb small hills/mountains and don't forget to bring along that dusty hiking gear of yours. 

Having said all that, Norway is a country of splendid natural beauty and amazingly helpful people (both free of cost). So save some days and money to make sure you visit it at least once in your lifetime. It would hard to forget. I promise.

Utne is situated at north end of Folgefonn peninsula and provide some amazing views of the Hardanger fjord. Our house, surrounded by hill and cherry plantation on 3 sides and sea on fourth, was 1 km from nearest habitation. Our family (7 adults and 4 kids) spend one complete week here; going out everyday to visit nearby popular sites and coming back to the comfort of a well furnished home.
Photo of Utne, Norway by Shallu Aggarwal
Photo of Utne, Norway by Shallu Aggarwal
Photo of Utne, Norway by Shallu Aggarwal
Snow, in summers, is a lot of fun. For kids, its heaven. Make it awesome by starting snow fights. It is one of those few places which offers skiing opportunity in summers.
Photo of Folgefonna, Etne, Norway by Shallu Aggarwal
Cycling in small quiet norwegian village of Eidfjord, followed by a visit to largest National Park in Norway.
A moderate hiking trail and a breathtaking view of Hardangerfjord. It takes one to two hours (depending on your speed) to go up this little rocky little slippery trail and then you can spend anywhere between one to two hours at the viewpoint. Our family ended up spending two and a half hours up there clicking crazy pictures and playing numerous game of cards.
Steinsdalsfossen is one of the most beautiful waterfall in hardanger region, approximately two hours drive from Utne on FV7 which leads to Bergen. This 46m high waterfall is one of the most visited tourist sites in Norway. A path goes along the waterfall, up a hill, and behind it where visitors can walk dry "into" the rumbling water. Close to parking lot, is a nice cafe to grab a bite and a few souvenir shops that offer best pieces of Norway that one can bring along.
We took the cable car to Mt. Ulriken the highest point of Bergen's 'Seven Mountains' and enjoyed magnificent views of Bergen and the surrounding area. As it was a rainy day, clouds allowed us only teaser view of the city, the sea, the islands, fjords and mountains. But Bergen covered with dense cottony cloud was even more awe-inspiring. Next, we went to Bryggen, the Hanseatic commercial building in the center of the city. Bryggen houses museums, shops, restaurants and pubs. Followed by a quick visit to fish market, Fisketorget and then roaming in narrow alleys of this historic city, before we realized that we were to late to catch the last ferry from Kvanndal to Utne.
Kinsarvik, named after the wild Kinso river which runs through the village, is the starting point for the hike to four stunning waterfalls in Husedalen valley. The first two are approximately half an hour simple hike from the starting point. The next two are a good 4 hours hike away, make sure that you have proper hiking gear before you venture on this trail. Coming back to Kinsavik, visit Hardanger Bestikk, the largest cutlery manufacturing unit in Scandinavia. The family run company organises a free guide tour everyday at 1pm. It give a sneak peak in the culture of the region.
Drive from Utne to Sauda, a industrial town in Rogaland county was recommended to us by a lot of people. This approximately a two and a half hour drive with changing scenery is a great pleasure to eye. Especially, the region between Roldal and Sauda is awe-inspiring with numerous small and big waterfall, frozen lakes , partially frozen dam, snow capped mountains, freshly melted glacier ice, crystal clear blue water and seven feet tall snow standing on both the sides of the road (Yes, I am talking about summers). It provide numerous photo opportunities and great fun place with family and friends. To me its Heaven on Earth and I miss it like hell.
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